The people have spoken

November 25, 2019 10:25
Voters form a long queue to cast their ballots at a polling station during the District Council elections on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Although Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor won't admit it, Sunday's District Council election was a referendum on her administration, and the results clearly show that she has lost the people's confidence if that wasn't clear yet over the months of protests that have roiled our city.

The people voted with their feet, forming long queues at the polling stations and many having to wait for more than an hour for their turn to vote.

Nearly three million Hongkongers cast their ballots, a record-breaking turnout of 71 percent, beating all forecasts.

Few people had expected the stunning outcome. Some thought the pan-dems would be able to snatch more seats than before, while pro-Beijing candidates believed they would prevail in their bailiwicks.

But it was a landslide victory for the pan-democrats, gaining control of 17 of the 18 districts, and a colossal defeat for the pro-establishment camp.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Hong Kong's biggest political party, won less than 10 percent of the seats.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions only won three, out of the 60 candidates they had nominated. It was very weak showing but better than that of the New People's party under Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, which had yet to score a single seat as of this writing.

Even pro-establishment stars in the Legislative Council lost, except for DAB leader Starry Lee Wai-king, who won by a few hundred votes against former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung in Kowloon City.

It's clear that the pro-establishment bloc has suffered a massive debacle. 

This would have an important bearing on next year's Legislative Council elections, which would draw some of the candidates from the DC poll winners, and even the 2022 chief executive election, as DC subsectors would have seats on the 1,200-member election committee that would choose the next chief executive.

A million people staged a march against the administration's now-withdrawn extradition bill on June 9th, and then two million people poured into the streets to oppose it on June 16th.

Now, after more than five months of often violent protests, three million Hongkongers trooped to the polls to give voice to their sentiments.

Their demand has always been the same. They want to protect their freedoms guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" principle. They want to choose their own leaders.

What will the administration, what will Beijing, do now?

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EJ Insight writer